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Abstract

Based on research documenting harmful long-term consequences of parental conflict and divorce for offspring, relations between recollections of parental conflict, parental divorce, and social outcomes in young adulthood were examined. A total sample of 566 young adults from divorced and intact families completed measures of parental conflict, quality of parent–adult child relationships, anxiety in relationships with others, and perceptions of social support from others. As hypothesized, divorce and conflict had significant independent effects on outcomes in young adulthood. Effects of conflict were uniformly negative for quality of parent-child relationships, perceived social support from others, and anxiety in personal relationships. Parental divorce was associated with lower quality father-child relationships, yet divorce was associated with significant positive outcomes for quality of mother-child relationships, social support, independence facilitated by both parents, and reduced anxiety in relationships. Importantly, these effects occurred regardless of participant sex, parental remarriage, and parental socioeconomic status.